On Sunday, July 2, 2017, at 2:00 am, David Desper, 28, turned himself to the police for fatally shooting 18-year-old Bianca Nikol Roberson, that previous Wednesday, in West Goshen, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. The prosecutor in the case said that Desper shot Bianca in the head and killed her because he, “didn’t want her to merge into a lane of traffic.” When Bianca was killed she was driving back from a shopping trip to buy clothes for college. The recent high school graduate Bianca, had planned to attend Jacksonville University in the fall. “We were all excited for her. She was excited. We were just happy for her,” Bianca’s father, Rodney Roberson, told reporters as he fought back tears.
Ultimately, I guess, I was glad to hear that the suspect who murdered this beautiful 18-year-old girl, had surrendered himself to the police. Well... as glad as one could possibly be, whenever an 18-year-old, girl, getting ready to start out her life, loses her life; simply because a man didn't want to let her merge into traffic.
I guess, honestly the only sense of gladness I could possibly have is for Bianca's family. They've suffered an unspeakable loss and they deserve to see justice for the person that murdered their daughter.
Bianca’s family deserves to know that the person who could so coldly have taken their baby girl's life, isn't out, freely enjoying the world... The world their daughter will never get to see. I truly pray that Bianca's memory will come to be a blessing for her family and friends and that they may find some semblance of sense in such a senseless crime.
Ultimately, I am truly saddened for Bianca Nikol Roberson's family, friends, and loved ones. However, additionally, I am saddened for a whole lot of us right now.
The District Attorney said that Bianca was, “merging safely into a lane. This defendant wasn’t happy with the way it was going so he pulled out a gun and killed this young woman.”
It's almost unimaginable, that such a mundane act could provoke one to take someone's life. However, what's even sadder to consider, is that might not just be this one man. Rather indeed there is a lot more people in our country who are poisoned with the toxicity of negativity.
So poisoned that they would suddenly erupt with enough rage that they could kill another human being, over something so inconsequential as merging into traffic. Truthfully, I have a hard time believing that a man could live 28-years of their life, with no recorded of cold-blooded violence, and then suddenly the act of a car merging in traffic, not to their satisfaction, could provoke them into a willingness to take human life.
Now, don’t get me wrong, what Desper did when he pulled out his Smith and Wesson .40 handgun and fired it at the head of Bianca Roberson, was a calculated and quintessentially evil act. It was a wicked act, that could only be committed by a person that, at least in that moment, lacked any appreciation or regard for human life. Essentially, Desper’s actions lack the discernment of conscious regard or remorse for the emotions of others. However, they are not inherently the actions of a psychopath. At least not a psychopath that is a result of biological origin. However, Desper may very well be a psychopath of sociological origin, and that’s what concerns me the most.
What Desper demonstrated, was the propensity to act in a psychopathic way, as an accumulation of excessively negative stressors. In essence, the response of having no regard for the life of a teenage girl is the same cumulated stress or negative emotions that can cause someone to take their own life. The one who kills themselves wants relief, where the one who senselessly kills another in cold blood has reached the same boiling point where they can no longer take on any more negative stressors.
Ultimately, the ability for Desper to engage in such wanton violence over something so inconsequential is what causes me concern for society as a whole. Because, as tragic and seemingly remarkable as Bianca’s death appears, it’s actually not remarkable at all.
Just weeks earlier, Darwin Martinez Torres, murdered 17-year-old, Nabra Hassanen, as she was walking with a group of teens from a late night Ramadan event in Fairfax County, Virginia. What is the catalyst that police say set of Torres to murder the teen girl by beating her to death with a baseball bat? Road rage.
This past May, in Kent County, Michigan, 43-year-old, Robert Chapman Jr., shot two brothers, Donald Dudley, 20, and Benjamin Dudley, 18, killing the oldest brother and paralyzing the younger. What caused an altercation that ultimately led to death and lifelong paralysis? A road rage dispute between the three men.
Just last week, I shared a story about a man, who was shot in Mason County, Washington over a dispute with a random passerby. The shooter got into an argument with the victim because he thought a dead raccoon he was dragging down the road was a dog. The verbal altercation led to one of the men being willing to fire a gun.
All of these mentioned incidents are road rage related incidents, however, is that just me highlighting a few to make a point? Well… No, at least not in an effort to misrepresent something.
In 2016, Americans brandished a firearm in a threatening manner or fired a gun at another driver or vehicle as result of road rage, 621 times. Two years prior, in 2015 that number was 463 and in 2014, gun-related road rage was only reported 247 times. Basically, there was a 251% increase in gun related road rage in America.
In terms of person’s losing their life as a result of road rage, in 2014 there were 34 deaths, and in 2015, there was only 29. However, in 2016, there was a total of 73 persons killed by angry drivers, or an identical 251% increase in deaths from 2014 to 2016.
So what the hell is going on? Why are people getting so angry or better yet willing to kill people during the act of driving? The answer is actually relatively simple…Stress.
The act of driving is in itself stressful on individuals physiologically and cognitively. This is related to the various requirements that are involved with driving, most importantly the necessity to make decisions and rapidly deviate our attention between various perceptive tasks.
Which brings us to stress as Americans in general. The American Psychological Association published their annual “Stress in America-2017” report in March of this year. In the report, the top three overall stressors for Americans were money (61%), employment (58%), and health (59%). Essentially, a significant number of Americans are really stressed out about money and health. Is that number of Americans stressed considered significant? Well… yes, yes it is.
In fact, for the first time in ten years, or since the APA has been publishing the study on stress, American’s stress increased. In fact, it increased A LOT! 31% of Americans cited an increase in stress from 2015-2016.
Well, no surprise here, the biggest increases in stress was: the future of our nation (66%), and the current political climate (57%). Interestingly, less than half of all Americans were concerned about the actual election outcome in 2016 (49%). So honestly the political climate, and loss of friends or peers over political rivalry was actually more significant that the outcome of the election for the majority of Americans.
“Ok, so America is a more stressed-out nation. So is that what has caused the increase in road rage incidents and death?”
Well, that’s unknown, at least scientifically. Of course, you are going to have some use the increase for political favor, I mean you don’t stress out 66% of the nation, without making everything political. The political influencing factor would be the suggestion would be to blame the guns themselves. Essentially, more guns on the road in cars = more deaths. However, in my opinion, that doesn’t account for the willingness for one to actually pull the trigger.
Ultimately, my opinion what we are seeing in America is the explosion of individuals who exist in a society that is bursting at the seams with stress and negativity. Essentially, the news media is riddled with nothing but the overpowering stressful extremes in life.
Our government and American democracy have either been hijacked by colluding foreign espionage, or an internal cabal hell-bent on dichotomy by propagated control of domestic thought is ruining the nation. Terrorists who wish to see the streets of American cities overrun with innocent blood are knocking on lady liberties door or the blood of innocent people’s cries are ignored by our cold unwillingness to care for our fellow human beings. Citizens run the risk of being fatally taken out by a law enforcement system that places little to no value on the life it comes in contact with, or the public wages a psychological war on law and order that spills into rashes of physical warfare where innocent police officers lives are being lost.
Basically, every side of the spectrum involves dramatic and vastly divergent schools of thought. There is very little sense of optimism one can try to mitigate their stress with so long as the opposing sides are always viewed as being vastly polarized from each other. The ensuing results involve very little mediation between differing views in American society. In essence, they instead collided into this giant violent wave of emotional discourse in the country, in which it can be equated to almost an American civil war of thought. More alarmingly, it isn’t just thoughts that are so divided, it is the entire perception of reality between society’s outgroups.
Regardless, of what side of the equation one finds themselves on, the overall feeling is not warm or pleasant. Essentially, we are wound tight as little drums and America as a collective society is stressed the f$%# out! At the end of the day, nothing good can come from this much cultural tension, and it’s far past time we all chill the f#$% out!
Remember, those three primary stressors recorded by the APA in 2016, money, employment, and healthy. Here is the deal… we aren’t going to solve those big three by beating each other, blaming each other, or thinking that we can eliminate each other. That is only going to cause more stress. We cannot solve negatives by compounding more negativity on top of it. That’s not how this works… that’s not how any of this works.
Instead, we are going to have to be willing to come and meet each other in the middle. I’ll take the example of the police/community views as an example. I try very hard to be willing to meet the community in the middle. This involves, condemning actions with the police profession that are not good and do not represent what law enforcement should stand for. In addition, I’m willing to come to the middle and listen to the communities concerns and try to help build police legitimacy. In return, the community has to be willing to meet me half way, and not keep compounding on the negativity and express a desire to want legitimate policing. Each side must be willing to meet with the anticipation of achieving mutually positive outcomes. When we approach solutions of mutual benefit, no one feels left out.
Essentially, we’ve got to come together, to be willing to work on solutions to problems, which means we’ve got to be willing to meet each other on the middle ground. Because right now, we are being a nation that is addicted to negativity and we are overwhelming ourselves to the point that some people cannot take even an ounce more stress, and they respond in horribly violent ways.
The somberly tragic thing is that often it is those horribly violent incidents, such as the death of 18-year-old Bianca Nikol Roberson, often times bring us together and create a climate in which we are willing to be more accepting and thankful for our neighbors; no matter who our neighbors may be. However, wouldn’t it be great if we could be willing to meet each other in the middle, with a desire to achieve greatness between us, before these tragic events occur?
It’s not nearly as difficult as you may think. Instead, of worrying about everything that is destroying or ruining the country; simply take some time to think about what you can do to make it better. Don’t worry about what your neighbors have done wrong. Instead, focus on what you can do that is right. If enough of us do that, maybe we can start overcoming the stranglehold of negativity surrounding us, with the freedom and happiness of positivity within.